Welcome to our review of the Milesight UI-2A61-EPCV 2MP Mini PoE PTZ Bullet, the 2A61 is one of 2 types of PTZ Milesight have to offer, the other being the more traditional pendant dome style PTZ. So as the cheaper of the 2 PTZ options what can we expect from the 2A61, well the camera features a 12x optical zoom for long distance recording, adaptive smart IR LEDs for an IR range of up to 100m as well as 140dB super WDR, IP67 rating, a 128GB microSD slot, and to top it all off a white LED spotlight. With all these smart features our expectations of this camera were pretty high, but we were still sceptical as to how well a 2MP sensor would adapt to the variety of scenarios we would have it recording for our test.
What’s in the Box?
Milesight’s packaging looks great, the simple 2-colour design, minimal text and glossy image on the front all scream high-quality consumer tech, and that quality continues inside the box. With the 2A61 the first thing you will see is the camera itself which looks and feels like a quality product, also inside the box you will find a small hex tool for unscrewing and accessing parts of the camera like the SD card slot, a set of mounting screws and matching rawl plugs, and a drill template for mounting. The final things in the box are a 2-year warranty card and a quick start guide.
Installation & Setup
As already mentioned the camera comes with the screws, plugs and drill template you need to install the camera, this makes the installation process so easy anyone from an installer down to a homeowner could install this camera. The technical setup of the camera is just as easy as any of the Hikvision cameras we have tested with smart tools software to find devices on your network, Pro and lite versions of their VMS software and a user-friendly M-Sight Pro app for Android and iOS. Also whether you are using a browser or the VMS software the usability and level of control you have over each camera is far greater than any Hikvision camera.
Now we come to the main part of the review, the camera’s performance, this was the 1st Milesight camera that we have been hands-on with so we tested it for a lot longer than most of the other cameras we have reviewed to get our heads around it and make sure we were getting the best performance from the camera to give it a fair review.
So first off we started the review the same way we start all of our camera tests by seeing how the camera performs in a bright daytime scene. At first glance with the camera set to its widest field of view the resulting image wasn’t the best we have seen but for a 2MP camera, it was a very clear, colourful and detailed enough for most scenarios, although some of the smallest details like facial features may look pixelated. Next, we set the PTZ camera to tour a set of 14 presets, and as soon as the camera moved to the first preset, focused on the eye test chart, we got to see how powerful this camera really is. The clarity and sharpness of this preset is far greater than the same part of the scene when shown in the wide view, the reason this preset is so sharp is because the camera uses a 12x optical zoom rather than a digital one which means there is almost no resolution loss when the camera zooms, if anything the picture actually improves as the camera’s sensor isn’t having to take in as much visual information as it does in the wide.
Next few presets continued to impress with sharp details and almost perfect colour rendition, we then arrived at the next important preset, the number plate. Now for most fixed focal length 2MP cameras in these kind of bright conditions it would be almost impossible to read the number plate without losing the rest of the scene, but with the help of its optical zoom and adaptive sensor of the 2A61 the camera is able to reduce the sun glare on the plate to make it readable. The final key preset to look at is with the camera set to its full 12x zoom, to test the camera at full zoom we pointed it at the garden shed that is 40m from where the camera is mounted, the results were really impressive, the focus was sharp and the smallest details were clearly visible, even down to the wood grain on the planks that make up the shed.
Next, we have cameras IR nighttime performance, but before we talk about that there is one issue to talk about that we stumbled across when the camera was touring the presets at dusk, just before the IR activated. What we saw was the camera struggling to focus on some of the presets, this is annoying but seeing as it only seems to happen in this short window before the IR activates it’s not really something to be too worried about. Moving on to the IR performance we started the test the same way we did with the day performance, by setting the camera to its widest field of view. Like the daytime scene, the 2A61’s IR performance when set to wide is ok, but we have seen better from higher megapixel fixed focal length cameras especially when it comes to rendering the smaller details which here look quite pixelated and mushy. We then put the camera through the same preset tour as before and first up we had the eye chart which, just like in the daytime, looks much clearer and sharper than it did in the wide. Next, we have the number plate, which in the wide was completely obscured by the IR light reflecting off it, but with the adaptive sensor when the camera zooms closer to the plate the number actually becomes readable, which is so impressive for a 2MP camera that isn’t specifically designed as an ANPR camera. The final preset to mention is the maximum zoom preset were we pointed the camera at the shed that is 40m from the camera and the resulting image was staggering, under IR the camera recorded this preset as well if not better in some places than it did in the daytime with all the same small details clearly visible.
After finishing the preset tour we decided to do some work tests under IR to see how the camera handled people and faces, so for the first one we set the camera back to its widest field of view and the result was good with the larger details like the different items of clothing and the distinctive label on the sleeve of the man’s jacket clearly visible, but as we had seen previously it is the smaller details like facial features that look really mushy and undefined in the wide view. Next, we zoomed the camera to its maximum and did a walk test in front of the shed that is 40m from the camera, the resulting image was almost crystal clear with even the smallest details of the face, like the slight stubble and the hairline and style, being rendered with amazing clarity.
After finishing the walk tests we decided to do a few quick tests of some of the Mini PTZ bullet’s unique features, the first of which is its HLC (High Light Compensation) setting which reduces the glare caused by very bright light sources like street lights and car headlights. We thought we would try using it to reduce the IR reflection off of the number plate when the camera is set at its widest field of view, we activated HLC and were immensely impressed by the effect it had on the scene. The number plate was readable now, it did not make the digits on the plate crystal clear but it is still a massive improvement on the complete whiteout we had before using HLC, the rest of the image does get slightly darker when you activate HLC but in our test scene this actually proved to be beneficial and helped the camera produce a more even scene with little to no drop off at the edges of the scene. The second special feature we tested was the cameras white LED spotlight, this is a really powerful feature as it actually can produce enough light to deactivate the IR and record in colour even in the darkest scenes, but because it creates quite a harsh pool of light we would probably advise against using it all the time. We think the best way to use it is in conjunction with motion detection, this way the camera can both capture footage of a potential criminal whilst also deterring any would-be criminals.